Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blatter seeks support from Saudi Arabia

FIFA president Sepp Blatter will spend time in Saudi Arabia this week hoping to drum up support for his bid to be re-elected to a fourth mandate.

"I know very well that the best way to win Arab support for my candidature is to come to Saudi Arabia," said Blatter, the president of football's world ruling body.

"It is a powerful and influential country in every domain, including in sport. Saudi Arabia is one of the countries from whom I will be looking for support."

Blatter, first elected in 1998, is currently in his third term as president of FIFA and hopes to get re-elected in June 2011.

He is expected to be opposed by France's Michel Platini, the current chief of UEFA, and Qatar's Mohammad Hammam.

The president of the Saudi Football Federation, Prince Sultan Ben Fahd Ben Abdel Aziz, reacted with prudence.

"It's normal for each candidate to try and consult with friends around the world and win their support, but for the (Saudi) kingdom it is still too early to be talking about this," he said.

After his visit to Saudi Arabia, Blatter is expected to visit Jordan and Israel.

Platini, the president of European football's ruling body, is expected to announce his future intentions this week at UEFA's Congress.

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